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Heating In The Winter....

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Armourer

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#1
I want to heat my shop, which is a single car garage attached to my house. How ever, I do not have natural gas, or propane to heat it as we have electric heat. Now I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on how to heat my shop. I know electricity will be more expensive, but are there any alternatives? Are there any low draw electric heaters out there?
 

RJSakowski

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#2
Resistance electric heat is 100% efficient. What goes in comes out. If you can run a heat pump, it will be more than 100% efficient. How much depends on the temperature that the evaporator is run in. In winter in Saskatchewan, I would expect that the temperature would be quite low so the efficiency would not be much over 100%. If the heat pump could utilize ground temperature, the efficiency can be boosted considerably. To that end, modern heat pumps either use a large buried tank or a recirculating well to supply heat to the pump.

I would consider a waste oil burner. Perhaps you can tap into some of that tar sand. :D. Maybe a small oil burner with electric heat for a backup? Insulation is probably the most economical improvement.
 

dieselshadow

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#3
Heating with electricity using heat strips will be costly compared to other methods. Is kerosene cheap where you live? Are you willing to use or have a wood stove in the shop?
 

Armourer

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#4
Thanks for the replys guys, the shop is small. Its 12x20 so I don't have a hole lot of room to take up floor space with a heater. I am against any wood heat for it, as insurance will go through the roof and I would like to heat it 24/7. Kerosene isn't the cheapest option either here, its quite pricy. I think I may be stuck with some sort of electric heater.
 

Armourer

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#5
Resistance electric heat is 100% efficient. What goes in comes out. If you can run a heat pump, it will be more than 100% efficient. How much depends on the temperature that the evaporator is run in. In winter in Saskatchewan, I would expect that the temperature would be quite low so the efficiency would not be much over 100%. If the heat pump could utilize ground temperature, the efficiency can be boosted considerably. To that end, modern heat pumps either use a large buried tank or a recirculating well to supply heat to the pump.

I would consider a waste oil burner. Perhaps you can tap into some of that tar sand. :D. Maybe a small oil burner with electric heat for a backup? Insulation is probably the most economical improvement.

I would love to install a heat pump, but I live in a town and its not allowed!!! The used oil would be nice, but we don't have any oil sands near me! And I would also have to change the oil in my truck everyday so I would have enough on hand! :grin:
 

RJSakowski

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#7
I would love to install a heat pump, but I live in a town and its not allowed!!! The used oil would be nice, but we don't have any oil sands near me! And I would also have to change the oil in my truck everyday so I would have enough on hand! :grin:
Living in a town can complicate things! I take my waste oil into a garage in a nearby town. He has a waste oil burner and heats his shop entirely with waste oil. I guess it helps if you're doing regular oil changes for customers.

You could probably find enough people around who would be glad to give you their waste oil. Even used oil from deep fat fryers works although your neighborhood may smell a bit like frying chicken or fish. The propane burner mentioned by Jim is also a good idea although you will have to price out the cost per BTU vs. the cost of electricity per BTU.

One KWH of electricity will generate 3,600 BTU's. A gallon of LP will generate about 92,000 BTU's. Our cost for electricity is about $.14/KWH so generating the equivalent of 1 gallon of LP would cost me $3.57. A 20 lb. tank of LP costs me about $18 or about $4.50/gal. and we fill our large tank for about $2.00/gal.

Another consideration for burning LP is that some source of fresh air is required for burning as well as your breathing. On a cold winter day, the instinct would be to button up the shop as tightly as possible. Burning one gallon of LP requires about 800 cu. ft. of air.

Depending upon your zoning restrictions, a small used LP furnace properly vented for supply air and exhaust may be a better option.
 

JimDawson

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#9
Burning propane (or anything that is not externally vented) inside a shop will release a lot of moisture in your shop. Your tools may rust because of it.
Bob, you would think so. But I have not noticed a problem in my shop, and I am not sure why. My shop is not very tight and the roof is vented at the peak and the roll up door has a pretty loose fit also. So I guess the venting is pretty good and that may be why I'm not getting rust. I'm burning about 60 gal of propane a month mid winter.
 

Billh50

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#10
I use one of those small torpedo heaters in my garage when I need to be out there in the winter. My garage is 12 x 20 with 10 ceiling. If I run the torpedo heater with the door open about a foot for about 45 minutes. I can shut the door and work in my shirt for about 4 hrs before I start to get a chill. But then I can always turn it on again and take a break while it heats back up for 1/2 hr. I usually only use the garage for motorcycle work. My machining area is in the basement where it seems to stay the same temp all year and is dry enough so nothing rusts.
 

BGHansen

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#11
I use a 30K BTU ventless propane heater from TSC. My shop is 32 x 40, in the winter I run a set of tarps down the middle so the metal side is 32 x 20. I have 2 ceiling fans that run 24/7/365, no rust on anything as it keep the air moving. Cast iron/steel gets sprayed down with LPS 1 on occasion to help. The heater gets popped on when I need it; it's fed from a 100 lb. propane tank. It'll raise the shop temp around 30 F in an hour.

Bruce
 

brino

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#12
Hello Armourer,

My shop is my attached 2-car garage, about 20'x20'.

I agree with RJ's statement above:
Insulation is probably the most economical improvement.
My goal all winter is to keep the shop from freezing. Although I do have antifreeze in the TIG cooler, there's the usual assortment of glues, paints, etc.
For me I try to minimize the heat loss to outside and allow some heat escape from the house to the shop. Note I am NOT talking about venting the shop to the house.....even if you can't get a car in there, there are still other fumes you don't want in the house. I just mean not insulating that wall too well.

With the better insulation and the heat "leakage" from the house I can keep the entire shop above freezing with one small baseboard heater.
For working out these, I use one of those orange cube electric construction heaters.

I too have thought about some sort of stove out there, but the insurances b4st4rds rule that out.
My Dad finally cancelled his house insurance for this very reason.

-brino
 

Bob Korves

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#13
Bob, you would think so. But I have not noticed a problem in my shop, and I am not sure why. My shop is not very tight and the roof is vented at the peak and the roll up door has a pretty loose fit also. So I guess the venting is pretty good and that may be why I'm not getting rust. I'm burning about 60 gal of propane a month mid winter.
Well, extra moisture is certainly being created by burning the propane. OTOH, the temperature is rising, which lowers the relative humidity. The moisture problem occurs when the moisture laden air cools and condenses. You apparently have enough ventilation for the moist air to escape before it condenses. I guess that works, but is is not very efficient. Sometimes simple and effective wins over efficient...
 

davidh

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#14

RJSakowski

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#15
Burning a gallon of LP produces almost a gallon of water vapor (along with about 14 lbs. of CO2). If not vented, water vapor will condense on the coldest surfaces which will be your outside walls in an uninsulated or poorly insulated shop.

I run a dehumidifier 24/7 in my basement shop during the summer and pull out about 2 gallons of water a day. This, in conjunction with the central A/C, keeps the house and shop at around 50% RH and I do not have a significant rust problem. If I let the humidity creep up, I start to see rusting.

IMO, if using an unvented burner in an enclosed environment, proper consideration must be given to venting and air exchange. The problem is that bringing fresh air which may be -20ºF in the winter is counter intuitive. Maybe it is ingrained from childhood when my mother scolded me "Shut that door. We're not heating the outside!".

One solution would be to make a heat exchanger for the exchange air. Some years ago, I designed a heat exchanger where the outgoing warm air would heat the incoming air, capturing some of the escaping BTU's. It never got built because the need disappeared ( I heat with wood and my exhaust air goes up the chimney).

Here is a concept sketch. The sketch is essentially a floor plan withe the height suitably chosen for the volume of air required. The walls between the intake and exhaust chambers would be made from a thermally conductive material while the flow reversing baffles can be any suitable material. As intake air flows through, it will be progressively warmed by the heat removed from the exhaust air. Ideally, the intake air will be almost at room temperature as it enters the room while the exhaust air will have lost almost all of its excess heat value.
Heat Exchanger.JPG
 

David S

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#16
RJ will there be a condensate collector or pan or something. It seems to me that when the warm moist air gets cooled there will be some sort of condensate some where.

David
 

RJSakowski

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RJ will there be a condensate collector or pan or something. It seems to me that when the warm moist air gets cooled there will be some sort of condensate some where.

David
David, Good point! I don't humidify my air in the winter so the RH in our house is quite low. However, is using a heater which exhausts into the room, there will be a lot more moisture. Condensate could be dealt with but if it starts to freeze up, it could end up blocking the air flow. As I said, it was a concept. It looks like it needs some additional thought to make a functional system.

I have recently seen commercial heat exchangers used to deal with radon gas buildup. Apparently, they deal with frost buildup by use of a damper which cuts off the cold air and routes warm air through the system to defrost it. When defrosted, the damper reverts to normal operation.

Here is a link to an article on the operation:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/a149/1275121/

Here are some links to commercial units.
http://www.lennox.com/products/indoor-air-quality/ventilation/hrv
http://www.broan.com/fresh-air-systems
 

Bob Korves

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#18
Burning a gallon of LP produces almost a gallon of water vapor (along with about 14 lbs. of CO2). If not vented, water vapor will condense on the coldest surfaces which will be your outside walls in an uninsulated or poorly insulated shop.

I run a dehumidifier 24/7 in my basement shop during the summer and pull out about 2 gallons of water a day. This, in conjunction with the central A/C, keeps the house and shop at around 50% RH and I do not have a significant rust problem. If I let the humidity creep up, I start to see rusting.

IMO, if using an unvented burner in an enclosed environment, proper consideration must be given to venting and air exchange. The problem is that bringing fresh air which may be -20ºF in the winter is counter intuitive. Maybe it is ingrained from childhood when my mother scolded me "Shut that door. We're not heating the outside!".

One solution would be to make a heat exchanger for the exchange air. Some years ago, I designed a heat exchanger where the outgoing warm air would heat the incoming air, capturing some of the escaping BTU's. It never got built because the need disappeared ( I heat with wood and my exhaust air goes up the chimney).

Here is a concept sketch. The sketch is essentially a floor plan withe the height suitably chosen for the volume of air required. The walls between the intake and exhaust chambers would be made from a thermally conductive material while the flow reversing baffles can be any suitable material. As intake air flows through, it will be progressively warmed by the heat removed from the exhaust air. Ideally, the intake air will be almost at room temperature as it enters the room while the exhaust air will have lost almost all of its excess heat value.
View attachment 135242
Commercial heat exchangers for changing out room air use Coroplast, stacked in alternate layers pointing opposite directions. Cheap, efficient, and easy.
 

P T Schram

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#19
I want to see that 100% efficient heater. I suspect that Mr Newton's second law might disagree.

The problem with salamanders is noise and the combustion by-products.

In my case, diesels fuel would have to rise to about $5/gallon for it to be cheaper for me to heat with propane as we do not have natural gas. Were I to hike to the fuel supply, I could get off-road diesel even less expensive.

I use an old home fuel oil furnace to heat my shop. It sucks down the fuel-which is typically about 20-30% used engine oil-but is quiet and warm. It has a crack in the heat exchanger, but it has to be better than the salamander I was using for so long.

While it may take up floor space and be expensive, it is safe and you can buy fuel for it in small quantities nearly anywhere and as mine is a forced draft, the venting requirements are minimal.
 

Uglydog

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#20
Please be careful about Carbon Monoxide toxicity.
It is a real thing.
Chronic low exposures, while not acutely lethal, are linked with symptoms similar to dementia/Alzheimers.
If someone wants the research I go looking for the documents.

Daryl
MN
 

Billh50

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#21
Carbon Monoxide is why I run my torpedo with the door open and shut it off when I am closing the door. But it heats up enough of the air and any metal in the garage to keep me warm for 4 - 5 hours.
 

Uglydog

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Carbon Monoxide is why I run my torpedo with the door open and shut it off when I am closing the door.
That's appropriate.
Please consider running a CO alarm as a back up safety device.
They are cheap.
Additionally, if your garage/shop is attached to your house don't assume that there the wall is a protective barrier.
Gases follow a path of least resistance.

Daryl
MN
 

Cobra

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#24
Bob, you would think so. But I have not noticed a problem in my shop, and I am not sure why. My shop is not very tight and the roof is vented at the peak and the roll up door has a pretty loose fit also. So I guess the venting is pretty good and that may be why I'm not getting rust. I'm burning about 60 gal of propane a month mid winter.
More important to me is the external venting of exhaust. I have two 75,000 BTU overhead heaters in the shop but they vent outside.
 

JimDawson

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#25
Please consider running a CO alarm as a back up safety device.

I do have a new, 10 year (a year old now) CO detector in my shop and with the unvented propane torpedo it has never alarmed. The propane forklift won't set it off either. But run a car in there for about a minute and it will alarm. At least I know it works. ;)
 

RJSakowski

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#26
I want to see that 100% efficient heater. I suspect that Mr Newton's second law might disagree.
From http://energy.gov/energysaver/electric-resistance-heating
"Electric resistance heating is 100% energy efficient in the sense that all the incoming electric energy is converted to heat. However, most electricity is produced from coal, gas, or oil generators that convert only about 30% of the fuel's energy into electricity. Because of electricity generation and transmission losses, electric heat is often more expensive than heat produced in homes or businesses that use combustion appliances, such as natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces."

Newton's second law says essentially force = mass x acceleration. Do you mean the second law of thermodynamics? It is possible to convert 100% of other forms of energy, mechanical, electrical. etc. into heat energy but not the reverse. The second law of thermodynamics essentially states that for any closed system involving a transfer of energy the entropy or amount of disorder is increasing.
 

P T Schram

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From http://energy.gov/energysaver/electric-resistance-heating
"Electric resistance heating is 100% energy efficient in the sense that all the incoming electric energy is converted to heat. However, most electricity is produced from coal, gas, or oil generators that convert only about 30% of the fuel's energy into electricity. Because of electricity generation and transmission losses, electric heat is often more expensive than heat produced in homes or businesses that use combustion appliances, such as natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces."

Newton's second law says essentially force = mass x acceleration. Do you mean the second law of thermodynamics? It is possible to convert 100% of other forms of energy, mechanical, electrical. etc. into heat energy but not the reverse. The second law of thermodynamics essentially states that for any closed system involving a transfer of energy the entropy or amount of disorder is increasing.
I look at it as being Newtonian Physics. And, it can't be 100% efficient as there is some energy lost to light that is not necessarily seen as heat.

No conversion of any form of energy can be 100% efficient as there are always losses to the "system". In this discussion, the likely most efficient heating source is going to be an unvented combustion source like a salamander where even the exhaust heat that would be lost in most situations is recovered as heat.

I get so tired of hearing so many folks talk about renewable energy and 100% efficient transfers. Neither of which is possible to exist.

Even nuclear power is not 100% efficient.

Yes, I did work for Indiana Michigan Power Company at one point in time.
 
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